Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Red Velvet

Red Velvet


Lately a friend on Facebook Asked me would I make a Red Velvet cake and put up the recipe and pictures and insisted that it had cream cheese frosting (fussy, I know!!). Now the problem is when I make a cake I normally scoff the lot so i thought I'd make these cup cakes instead... you see this way I can still scoff the lot but convince myself that it was only a few cupcakes... not just a pretty face!!! Niamh, apologies these are about 6 weeks late however, All good things come to those who wait (and nag a little).

Makes 12:
100g self raising flour
15g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder

115g softened butter
115g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
2 teaspoons of red food colouring

For the frosting:
200g cream cheese
200ml double cream
6 tablespoons of icing sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases.
  • In a large mixing bowl sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. To this add the softened butter, caster sugar, eggs and the food colouring (be very careful with this as it stains anything it touches). Mix all together with a wooden spoon or with a slow setting on a electric hand mixer.
  • When well combined spoon the mixture into the muffin cases up to just over half way.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 mins, they are ready when you can press them gently and they spring back. Take out and cool on a wire rack.
  • For the frosting, in a bowl gently whisk together the cream cheese and icing sugar then add the double cream. whisk until slightly stiffened.
  • Pipe the cream on top of the cupcakes in what ever designs you like... get the kids involved! Everyone will love Red Velvet Cupcakes!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Homemade stock

3 Homemade Stocks-Video Recipes At The Bottom

Making your own stock may seem pretty pointless to some people as you can readily buy stock cubes and stock pots in most shops but I gotta say to those people... Shhhh! Ah no I can understand that, however, if you have the ingredients and the knowhow then why not. Lets face it, it ts coming into that time of year again where we all love some comfort food, looking out at the driving rain. Stews, soups and risottos all call for some good stock and homemade stock is the perfect base to these wonderful comfort foods! I freeze my portions in Zip-Lock Bags as to not waste space in my freezer.

Ok, first up is my 'Emergency vegetable stock'... by emergency I mean thay you have a dinner in mind, just about to start cooking and realise you have no stock. This recipe will pull you out of a hole and in under 15 minutes!

Emergency Veg Stock 
Makes 1 litre of stock:
1 carrot
1 onion
2 stalks of celery
1 fat clove of garlic
1 bay leaf

  • Grate the carrot, onion and celery. Mince the garlic and tear or finely shred the bay leaf.
  • Pour some oil into a medium saucepan and add all the ingredients and gently sweat off for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat.
  • Pour a litre of water into the sucepan and turn the heat up full to bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Strain in a sieve and voila you have an instant stock to add to your recipe.

Next up is a handy chicken stock which has a delicate flavour, it wont over power your dish just give it depth of flavour.

Chicken Stock

Makes 4-6 litres of stock:
1 large cooked chicken carcass and leg bones
1 large carrot
1 large onion
2 celery stalk
1 leek
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
10-12 whole black peppercorns


  • Roughly chop the carrot, onion, celery and leek. Place them into a large stock pot along with the chicken carcass and bones. Gently tear the bay leaves and add them along with the thyme and pepper corns.
  • Pour in cold water until it covers the pots contents by 2 inches. Place onto a hot hob and bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours.
  • Check occasionally and skim any froth off the top.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature and pour through a sieve to strain it. Then devide into required portions (I use 500ml portions) and freeze in Zip lock bags.

Beef Stock

Makes 4-6 litres of stock:
1-1.5kg of beef bones
2 large carrots
2 large onions
2 celery stalk
1 leek
2 bay leaves
A splash of white wine
10-12 whole black peppercorns


  • Place the bones into an oven dish and drizzle with a little oil and roast in a hot oven for 45 mins, then add one chopped carrot and one chopped onion and roast for a further 10 mins.
  • With a slotted spoon add the contents of the dish to a stock pot, pour the oils into a bowl and discard.
  • De-glaze the oven dish with a splash of white wine and pour all the crusty bits into the stock pot, add in a litre of water and place on a hot hob and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 10 mins then add in the rest of the chopped veg along with the bay leaves and the peppercorns.
  • Pour in cold water until it covers the pots contents by 2 inches. Place onto a hot hob and bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer for 3 1/2-4 hours.
  • Check occasionally and skim off any froth off the top.
  • When simmered, strain into another large pot and let cool to room temperature, place into the fridge over night.
  • The remaining fat will rise to the top and form a crust at the top. Remove this and either freeze in portions or place back onto a hot hob and boil for 20 mins to rerduce and strengthed the flavour.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

My Loaf, It's 50/50

Homemade Bread

50/50 Honey and Seeded Loaf

When I say my loaf is 50/50 im not just completely talking about my head!! This Homemade Bread is one of the nicest I have made, as plain white bread normally plays havoc with my stomac I altered this recipe to suit my needs... that is the beauty of home cooking you can chop and change recipes to suit yourself.. they are not written in stone! So this bread consists of half white flour and half wholemeal flour. This is one of the first ever 'homemade' things I made... I'm glad I did!

Makes two medium or one large loaf:

225g strong white flour
225g wholemeal flour
275ml lukewarm water
7g sachet of bakers yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of mixed seeds
3 tablespoons of olive oil
A splash of milk to glaze

Half and half flour

The shaped dough left to proof
After an hour it had risen
Punching out the air
Glazing with milk


  • Pour the strong white flour and the wholemeal flour into a large mixing bowl, add in the yeast and the seeds and give this all a good stir around.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil, honey and the water and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. It should be soft but not sticky.
  • Form the dough into a ball in the bowl then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 mins until smooth. Place the dough into a clean oiled bowl, cover with a damp teatowel and let the dough rise in a warm spot in the kitchen until it has doubled in size.. this normally takes about an hour.
  • When the dough has risen 'punch' the air out of it in the bowl then remove it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for a minute. Devide the dough in half and shape them however you please (see pictures).
  • Place them onto an oiled baking sheet and cover again with the teatowel until they have almost doubled in size.
  • In the meantime preheat your oven to 200c. When the loaves have almost doubled in size brush a thin layer of milk over them and and bake for about 25 mins until golden in colour. To know if your loaf is cooked through there should be a hallow sound when you tap the underside.
  • Cool them on a wire rack... if you can resist the temptation, although not many can for homemade bread

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Homemade Pizza Video Recipe

My First Video Recipe

Ok, I have decided to do a few videos of some Basics in Home Cooking. These are for people looking to get into some cooking or just looking for new fresh ideas!
First up is how to make a very simple and basic homemade pizza.. this will be a huge hit for all the family.

So here is the recipe and the link to watch the video, I hope you enjoy it and excuse the nerves :)

Makes up to 6 pizzas:

500g strong flour
300ml skimmed milk
1 sachet of bakers yeast

Pinch of salt


1.      Heat milk gently in a saucepan, add the yeast and stir until dissolved.

  1. Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl. Make a well in middle and add the milk with dissolved yeast.

  1. Mix together using a spoon, it should be quite sticky. Empty out onto a lightly floured work surface, kneed it for 10 mins and bop back into bowl and cover with Clingfilm for 20 mins.

  1. Punch out the air, it can be used right away or wrap in Clingfilm and keep in fridge.

  1. When using pull off a ball smaller than a tennis ball and roll it out as thinly as possible, don’t worry about perfect circles.

  1. Pop it onto a oiled pizza tray and lightly spoon on some pasta sauce, grate over some cheese of your choice (I just use low fat cheddar), and add the toppings of your choice.

  1. 15-20 mins in a HOT oven will make a lovely crispy pizza.

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